Greenleaf concludes his 1962 essay by relating a dream he had. Now, a bit of context might help. In the 1950s Greenleaf spent a number of years working with three different Jungian Analysts. One of the gifts that Jungian Analysts give those they serve is the gift of ‘dream interpretation.’ The dream that Greenleaf shared in this essay is also essential for he took it to mean that he should not ‘fully plan’ for ‘life after retirement’ (he retired from AT&T in 1964); he kept his options open. The dream also provided him with a ‘garden metaphor’ which was a metaphor he brought with him when he began to write on the ‘servant-theme’ in 1969.
I invite you, gentle reader, to reflect upon this dream and I invite you to consider your own dreams and the gifts-messages they are attempting to give you. Greenleaf writes:
This can be one of the great excitements of life – the surprise when you discover what you have become and realize that more is yet in store.
Along the way I had a dream – a big dream. I’ve only had four or five big dreams in which I came sharply awake realizing that something important had happened and remembering enough so that I could reconstruct it in detail.
It is a beautiful day and I am in a lovely woods on level ground in which there is a labyrinth of paths.
I am riding a bicycle through these paths. In my left hand I hold a map of these paths by which I am guiding my journey. I am riding rapidly and buoyantly as I follow my map. There is a delightful certainty about it.
Suddenly there is a gust of wind and my map blows out of my hand. As I come to a stop, I look back and see it flutter to the ground. It is picked up by an old man who stands there holding it for me. I walk back to get my map.
When I arrive at the old man he hands me, not my map, but a small round tray of earth in which fresh grass seedling are growing.